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Welcome Tennis Lovers!!

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame Welcomes Former ATA Champion, Publisher and Black Tennis Historian Arthur "Art" Carrington As Its Historian

Friday, March 22, 2019

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BLACK TENNIS HISTORY: The Black Tennis Hall Of Fame

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mission Statement

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit, privately funded organization dedicated to preserving the history of African American tennis and honoring those who made exemplary contributions to the sport, with special consideration extended to those who overcame racial barriers.

Dr. Dale G. Caldwell, Founder

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame (BTHOF) was founded by
Dr. Dale G. Caldwell. He is the Founder and CEO of Strategic Influence, LLC and the creator of the “Intelligent Influence” framework for individual and organizational success. Dr. Caldwell graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Economics; received an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; and, earned an Ed.D. in Education Administration from Seton Hall University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and as the USTA’s liaison to the American Tennis Association (ATA). He is a visionary that is determined to help the ATA return to its former status and to generate renewed interest in tennis in urban communities across America and elsewhere.

The BTHOF honors individuals who have broken through the barriers of race and class to achieve success in the wonderful sport of tennis.

Robert Davis, Executive Director
Tennis has become the world’s second most popular sport largely because of the geographic, cultural, stylistic and racial diversity of its professionals. The sport has developed passionate fans of different backgrounds because of this diversity. Unfortunately, diversity was not always encouraged by the sport’s leadership. Most people are familiar with the tennis and life successes of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. However, because of racial discrimination in tennis and America, few people know the incredible story of the many talented players who were not allowed to compete in major tennis tournaments because of their race.

 For over fifty years prior to Gibson’s victories, blacks had been competing in club and regional tournaments. Banned from entering segregated events, African American tennis enthusiasts in 1916 formed their own organization, the ATA, to provide blacks with the opportunity to play competitive tennis on a national level. Their struggle to gain equal access to tennis paralleled the struggle of all blacks to gain equal access to American society.

Presiding over the BTHOF is one of its own inductees, Mr. Robert Davis. If not for Davis, much of the early history of blacks in tennis (Black Tennis History) might have been lost. He has been relentless is preserving the history and the photos of the men and women who played the sport ... and fought for that right. And maybe the BTHOF might not be where it is today if not for the nurturing by Davis, who now serves as executive director. In this capacity, he has managed the day-to-day operations of this organization dedicated to recording and promoting tennis history. However, Davis could certainly play the game. He was a two-time ATA national champion and winner of numerous other titles. But it is what he has done in the background that has made the biggest impact. In more than 40 years dealing in the business end of the sport, Davis has a long history of working with children to provide guidance and opportunity in the game of tennis. He helped create, and served as National Program Director for the Ashe/Bollettieri “Cities” Tennis Program. A driving force of the program, and what later became known as the Arthur Ashe Safe Passage Foundation, Davis was instrumental in introducing more than 20,000 inner city children to tennis.

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame (BTHOF) was founded to honor the achievements of those individuals who achieved success in tennis and life in spite of the many barriers that they faced, as well as those who helped them achieve those successes. We honor these individuals by permanently inducting them into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.


Black Tennis History
The Herald Tribune

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(PHOTOS) Black Tennis Hall Of Fame 1st Annual Induction Gala, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What an incredible evening! The excitement of newness, forward movement, and future endeavors was in the air.

At the end of the 94th ATA National Week, the organization closed out with the Black Tennis Hall of Fame 1st Annual Induction Gala. It was so wonderful to be in the midst of those who love tennis, it's history and celebrate the accomplishments of more than worthy participants in the sport. Here are some candids from the event.

(L-R) Albert A. Tucker, Executive Director, American Tennis Association, and Robert Davis, Executive Director, Black Tennis Hall of Fame.

(L-R) Dale G. Caldwell, Founder, Black Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum and Bob Davis.

(L-R) Myself and former WTA player Katrina Adams, USTA Board of Directors Vice President.

(L-R) Event Master of Ceremony Sam Crenshaw, Sports Anchor/Reporter, WXIA-TV Atlanta and Bob Davis.

Myself and Sam Crenshaw

(L-R) Bob Davis, Former WTA player Jewel Peterson, accepting the Chairman's Award on behalf of her father, the late Coach Ernie Peterson, and Dale Caldwell.

(L-R) Dr. Robert Screen, the widow of Coach Ernie Peterson, and Katrina Adams.

Black Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee Legendary Hampton University tennis coach Dr. Robert Screen. It was a pleasure to be seated at the same table with him.

You know how you go to events and end up talking to a person or a couple that you've never seen in life, but you have the best time together? That's who these two are!

A very talented, energetic and entertaining musician, violinist Ken Ford. He provided a musical interlude for the Gala and was really good. I purchased his CD after the event.

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Have You Met Dale G. Caldwell? USTA Board Of Directors, Director At Large

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dale G. Caldwell began serving a first two-year term as a Director at Large on the USTA Board of Directors in January 2011. He is the Chair of the Strategic and Creative Planning Committee and serves as the Board Liaison to the Opportunity and Education Council.

Previously, Caldwell served in numerous capacities for the USTA Eastern Section, including as the section’s President, 2006-08, and Delegate, 2009-10. Nationally, he served as Chair of the Tennis On Campus Committee, as Vice Chair of the Tennis Innovation Committee, and as a member of the Section Leadership Team and the Schools Committee.

Caldwell has enjoyed a long association with tennis. He was the No. 1 player on his high school team in New Haven, Conn., and played on the Princeton men’s tennis team, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Caldwell earned his certification as a Level 1 USPTA teaching professional in 1985 and garnered a men’s singles ranking in the Middle States section while earning his M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

In addition to his work with USTA Eastern, Caldwell has held numerous senior management positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tempus Management Consulting, LLC, providing strategic, financial and operations consulting advice to senior executives. Previously, Caldwell served as the Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships for Scholastic, Inc., the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the Executive Director of the Newark Alliance and as Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting. He has also authored the book, "School to Work to Success," and written chapters in several other books, including "Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul."

Caldwell has also been an active volunteer inside and outside tennis, particularly focusing on educational causes in New Jersey. In 2006, he served as the volunteer curator for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s "Breaking the Barriers" exhibition representing the important history of blacks in tennis.

Caldwell has been recognized in all fields during his career. He was named the USPTA Eastern Division New Jersey Volunteer of the Year, the New Jersey Pride Award winner in the category of education by New Jersey Monthly and received the Business Leaders of the Future Award from Minority MBA magazine. Most recently, Caldwell was named the New Jersey School Board Member of the Year (2009).

Caldwell lives in New Brunswick, N.J., with his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Ashley. He is a member of the USTA Eastern Section.

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Black History Month: Minority Tennis - A Historical Perspective, Part I

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Bob Davis Black History Month Minority Tennis - A Historical PerspectiveThis Black History Month perspective is the first of a three-part article written by Bob Davis whom you will meet, and on some level come to know, through the words of his writing.

At a time when Bob was a contributing editor for Tennis Life Magazine nearly ten years ago, he wrote this perspective that frankly, engagingly and historically captures the contributions, successes and struggles of Black tennis players and coaches in the world of tennis; it is still on point today. I am excited and honored to be able to share it here on Black Tennis Pro's. Without question I know that you will find it a must-read also.

Bob was referred to me by his brother, Bill Davis, whose story is one of the most read posts here. I will be bringing you more from Bill through a 'Conversation' very soon.

It is Bob's intention, along with others such as Arthur Carrington of Art Carrington Tennis Academy and Dale G. Caldwell of Black Tennis Hall of Fame to accurately preserve and present the history of Blacks in tennis. You will be able to see examples of what these gentlemen are doing to make this happen over the next few weeks.

Bob stated to me that "The players today need to have an appreciation for the the likes of players such as Billy Davis and George Stewart and the people that pioneered the Black tennis world when we were not allowed to play USTA tournaments. Therein lay the value of The ATA (American Tennis Association), our only way to play tennis competitively."

In recounting some of the racial struggles that he, Arthur Ashe and other players endured as they entered the tennis world he said, "Something in me wishes all of these young players understood that it took that kind of perseverance, and that kind of exposure to enable them to just walk out there and send in an entry fee."

I was so captivated with my conversation with Bob that I could go on with those words and the offering would hold just as much interest. However, I will stop here and let you read his thoughts as presented in this perspective.





Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865. Nearly 15 years later, in 1880, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) was founded (The name was later changed to USTA). Tennis was the dominion of the white, upper class and Blacks were neither interested, nor invited to participate. Segregation was rampant throughout America and an attitude of exclusion was pervasive in most areas of American society.

Blacks began to surface on tennis courts in about 1890 at Tuskegee Institute. Booker T. Washington, one of America’s great, black visionaries and leaders, founded Tuskegee. In his famous Atlanta Address of 1895, Booker T. Washington set forth the motivating spirit behind Tuskegee Institute. In a post Reconstruction era marked by growing segregation and disfranchisement of blacks, this spirit was based on what realistically might be achieved in that time and place. "The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now," he observed, "is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house." Because of Washington's extraordinary ability to work within the system and to maximize the possible, Tuskegee flourished to the extent only dreamed about when he met his first students on July 4, 1881.

By 1898, Blacks began to have inter-club matches with rival black clubs in New York, Philadelphia and a variety of other eastern seaboard cities. These inter-club rivalries were primarily networking opportunities; occasions for the black, college-graduated elite to commune with their colleagues from other cities. This group of clubs eventually grew in number until an organizational structure was needed. In 1916, the American Tennis Association (ATA) was created as the governing body of Black tennis in America. In the fifty years since slavery was abolished, 80% of the Black population became educated. Nearly 4 million people came out of slavery as legislated illiterates and by 1915, an elite middle-class had been formed. By today’s standards, this is a phenomenal accomplishment. When one considers the growing rate of illiteracy across America, illiteracy that transcends racial lines, we should look at this statistic with awe and wonder!

In any event, it was this continuing attitude of separation that caused a group of black professionals to form the American Tennis Association (ATA) in 1916. The primary mission of the ATA was the formation of a circuit of black clubs and tournaments across the country. This new organization permitted the black elite to travel from city to city, network amongst their peers and enjoy the game of tennis. These separate but unequal tennis societies continued without conflict for nearly 25 years. While blacks enjoyed the social and the networking opportunities provided by the ATA, the USLTA enjoyed the pristine, private, country club environment that offered the same opportunities to it’s constituency.

In many ways, this elite Black society was born of necessity. Blacks were determined to do for themselves what the segregated governing society refused to do for them. Significantly, these elite middle-class Blacks were graduates of Black colleges and universities and were educated in the Arts and Sciences. They became doctors, lawyers and educators and, because there was no access to professional sports at that time, went to college to develop the foundations for lifetime careers.

And so, Black business – and Black tennis flourished during the first quarter of the twentieth century. The ATA held its first national championship in 1917 in Baltimore, MD. Tally Holmes and Lucy Slowe emerged as the winners of that historic event. It was obvious that the ATA had gotten off to a resounding start and now emphasis was being placed on increasing the number of new clubs and the creation of junior development programs. By the mid-1930’s there were more than 100 member-clubs, many of them private, black-owned tennis and golf country clubs. This idyllic serenity was about to undergo a change as players began to improve and the desire to compete at the highest levels of the sport took on greater importance. The very first confrontation came in 1929 when Reginald Weir and Gerald Norman were denied entry into the National Indoors in New York City. Both paid their entry fees, but upon presenting themselves to play in the event, were denied the opportunity to participate. Formal complaints were filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the following response was received from the USLTA: “….the policy of the USLTA has been to decline the entry of colored players in our championships… In pursuing this policy we make no reflection upon the colored race but we believe that as a practical matter, the present methods of separate associations should be continued.” Neither Weir nor Norman were permitted to play, but it was now clear that the cauldron was being stirred.

Bob Davis currently owns and operates Coastal Tennis and Sports, LLC in Bradenton, Florida.

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